n7w_teaser_landing02It might be a natural wonder, but the Dead Sea can’t be entered into the New 7 Wonders of Nature contest because of politics.

The contest’s rules require that if a nominated site, such as the Dead Sea, is located in more than one country, all the countries involved must form an Official Supporting Committeee (OSC) by July 7. This doesn’t look like it will happen for the Dead Sea. Israel and Jordan,  two of the three countries which share the Dead Sea have signed on, but the third – Palestine – is refusing to do so. Nothing at all to do with natural beauty and wonder. Everything to do with politics and the continually volatile Middle East situation.

Disappointing really, as having the Dead Sea nominated and then possibly winning would help highlight the environmental threats it faces. Continual mineral extraction and human exploitation of the Jordan River feed waters has caused the Dead Sea to shrimk dramatically over the past 30 years.

Only a last minute re-think by the Palestinian Authorities would allow the Dead Sea to progress to the next stage of the contest in which internet voters around the world reduce the contestants down from 261 to 77.

From there a short list of 21 which will then be voted on to choose the final seven that will be announced in 2011

It‘s estimated that over a billion votes will be counted. Will yours be one of them?

And if so, which sites will you vote for?